Private Lloyd G. McCarter, USA (February 16-19, 1945)

Lloyd G. McCarter was born in St. Maries, Idaho on May 11, 1917. He was a member of the Idaho National Guard who was federalized for service in the United States Army during World War II. He also volunteered for airborne training, and was a member of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. The 503rd’s combat jump onto the Philippine island of Corregidor on February 16, 1945 gave the regiment its nickname – “The Rock”, also the nickname of the island itself.

During the first four days of the battle on Corregidor, McCarter cemented himself as one of our nation’s greatest heroes and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

With hand grenades, a rifle, a submachine gun, and indefatigable personal bravery once most of his comrades were wounded and he also suffered wounds, McCarter’s “one man Army” persona during the battle is a story that’s simply incredible.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (M-S):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

McCARTER, LLOYD G.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment
Place and date: Corregidor, Philippine Islands, 16-19 February 1945. Entered service at: Tacoma, Wash. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945

Citation: He was a scout with the regiment which seized the fortress of Corregidor, Philippine Islands. Shortly after the initial parachute assault on 16 February 1945, he crossed 30 yards of open ground under intense enemy fire, and at pointblank range silenced a machinegun with hand grenades. On the afternoon of 18 February he killed 6 snipers. That evening, when a large force attempted to bypass his company, he voluntarily moved to an exposed area and opened fire. The enemy attacked his position repeatedly throughout the night and was each time repulsed. By 2 o’clock in the morning, all the men about him had been wounded; but shouting encouragement to his comrades and defiance at the enemy, he continued to bear the brunt of the attack, fearlessly exposing himself to locate enemy soldiers and then pouring heavy fire on them. He repeatedly crawled back to the American line to secure more ammunition. When his submachine gun would no longer operate, he seized an automatic rifle and continued to inflict heavy casualties. This weapon, in turn, became too hot to use and, discarding it, he continued with an M-l rifle. At dawn the enemy attacked with renewed intensity. Completely exposing himself to hostile fire, he stood erect to locate the most dangerous enemy positions. He was seriously wounded; but, though he had already killed more than 30 of the enemy, he refused to evacuate until he had pointed out immediate objectives for attack. Through his sustained and outstanding heroism in the face of grave and obvious danger, Pvt. McCarter made outstanding contributions to the success of his company and to the recapture of Corregidor.

McCarter returned home after the war to St. Maries. He later married but lost his wife to cancer, not long after which he took his own life. He was laid to rest in the Woodlawn Cemetery in St. Maries.

The present-day 503rd Infantry Regiment is still an airborne unit of the United States Army and forms the core of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. They are forward deployed to Vicenza, Italy as a rapid reaction force for the United States European Command, United States African Command, or United States Central Command.

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